Recently I was at a concert with my boys and I wasn’t being very kind. I’m just going to go ahead and say that up front. I talk about kindness, preach kindness to my family and I was being a hypocrite this day. Ugly, but true.
Let me explain.
I drove up to the event expecting, well, I don’t know what I was expecting but not this. The music was too loud and I was very tired so I told the boys we were going to step into the building next door to get some coffee. I assured myself and them we would go back and listen to the music once I was more awake and hopefully in a better state of mind.
We stood around the coffee pot that was out of earshot but not too far away from the concert and talked, well teased about it being too early for “all of this,” referring to the volume. My youngest stood and mostly listened to me tease about it, but occasionally made a comment. I was too busy preparing my coffee and talking with others around the pot to hear him much.
Finally he said something that completely caught me off guard and humbled me.
“I would never perform for a crowd like this one, they don’t look happy at all to be here.” I knew he was talking more about me than “the crowd.” I stood there and thought “what message am I sending to my son right now?” Basically I was reaffirming the conclusion he was drawing, you should hide your gift so others won’t have a chance to judge you.
I was so ashamed.
I had taught him throughout his entire life to think the best, to be kind and be an encouragement to others who are growing and trying; to be a support, not a hindrance. What had happened to me? Why was I being the exact opposite of what I had tried so hard to instill in him? Just in case I didn’t feel horrible enough, he finished by saying, “The singers are just trying to do their best.” I realized quickly that I had a choice to make. I could stand there and justify my actions, because, after all, it was early and it was loud. Or I could swallow my pride for making a bad decision and go back to the concert.
And be the encouragement I knew Christ wanted me to be.
After a short pause to assess the damage it was obvious I’d done, I walked over to the sink and poured out my coffee. I looked my son in the eye and said, “I am being so cynical, and I don’t want to be this person. I’m sorry, let’s go listen and be a blessing.”
We walked into the concert together and I prayed in my heart for forgiveness. When did I become so cynical? When did that become okay with me? I am so thankful for the courage my son had to “call me out” on my bad behavior.
I never want to be okay with that kind of attitude.
The concert ended up being very good, lots of great songs and a time of worship. The singers had the sweetest spirit. But, honestly I learned more standing around the coffee pot than I did anywhere else.
My kids, as grown as they seem, are still watching. I desperately want to live what I say I believe. I want to be true, not an unattainable false perfection, but genuine and authentic. And when I’m living contrary to that, I thank the Lord he sends folks to call me out on it.
Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
I Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”
Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Prayer: Lord, thank you for not letting me get away with my bad behavior. I never want to be okay with a bad attitude or with making others feel small. I desperately want to be an encouragement to those around me. Help me to be authentic and transparent and to love those you’ve placed in my life. Father, you know it is easier to say “I love” than to actually “live it out.” Change me, Lord, change the deepest places inside of me so I look more like you. I am so grateful for a seventeen-year-old who knew enough to not be okay with hypocrisy, he saved me from myself. Thank you for not giving up on me, you are my biggest fan. I will love you forever. In Jesus name, Amen.